IGNACIO – Ignacio community members dream of a movie theater, breweries and even a college campus in the town’s future creative district. Meanwhile, the steering committee is wading through an ever-growing to-do list.
Community leaders want to designate a creative district that embodies Ignacio’s identity while stimulating its economy. They have resources from the state’s Rural Technical Assistance Program to help them through the daunting process. Community members shared valuable information at the first outreach meeting held Nov. 7.
“We are steering the creative district process, but without the community, you don’t even have a creative district. Period,” said Kasey Correia, chairperson of the steering committee.
A creative district is a geographic designation with formal boundaries and occasionally specific zoning ordinances or economic tax incentives. The district would brand the town’s identity and act as a liaison between the community and creative events and entrepreneurs, like artists, chefs, graphic designers and others.
“We could work eight hours a day on this creative district and still feel like we’re not doing enough,” Correia said, echoing another committee member. “We’re a bit overwhelmed.”
However, the community gathering gave the steering committee helpful input. They asked almost 15 people to share what services and events they wanted to see in Ignacio, their biggest dreams for the town and what they valued about the town.
“The most exciting thing about a creative art district is that it’s not one particular thing – there’s something for everyone,” said Sylvia Valdez, an Ignacio resident.
Valdez liked the idea of using a town mobile phone application or a regular newsletter to keep people informed about community events.
Others wanted more services, like an eye care business, local veterinarian, dance club or “modern” restaurants. They imagined a mall, an outdoor event space and nature walks in the future district.
For Marcia Vining, another steering committee member, one big takeaway was that residents all valued the cultural diversity and existing community in Ignacio.
“There is a lot of traffic that comes through the town,” Valdez said. “I never thought on how the town could possibly profit off of that.”